Doctor's book shames French prisons
- By: Alexander Dorozynski
The publication last month of the diary of a prison doctor has shocked the French public and prompted parliament to vote unanimously to create a commission to investigate “in depth” the living conditions of prisoners and working conditions of prison staff.
Elisabeth Guigou, the minister of justice, has ordered another commission, headed by the president of France's highest court of appeals, to report on the external control of penitentiary administration. “The situation in many of our prisons is not worthy of a country such as ours,” said Mrs Guigou.
The book, Médecin-chef à la Prison de la Santé, was written by Dr Véronique Vasseur, who has worked in the Santé prison for seven years, the last six as head physician.
She found the cells filthy and infested with rats and mice and the mattresses so teeming with lice and other insects that inmates collected them in jars to protest. Drug